My Mainly Free Phone Line

With my new web design business almost ready, I realized I needed a phone number. I’d rather use something other than my cell.

Google has free phone numbers for anyone with a Gmail account. I’ve got one.

Actually a I’ve got a few. Shhhh.

I can use Google Voice from my cell, home phone or computer.

That doesn’t tell the whole story. These Google numbers are cumbersome to use. Making a call is a multistep process.

Last week I stumbled upon a little box that makes Google Voice work exactly like an old fashioned home phone. I bought an OBI100 on Amazon.

As far as I can tell the OBI100 fools Google Voice into thinking it’s talking to your computer. Does it really make a difference?

Setup took a few minutes and was simple. The OBI100 has a little wall wart that brings it power, an ethernet cable to hook to my router and a place to plug my phone. Configuration was done through a web browser.

As with most VOIP phones, this line will not connect to 911. That’s important, but not in this circumstance where the phone is one of many.

Like I said, Google Voice is free. It has been free for years, though each year Google warns it could become a paid service in the next year. In other cases where Google has moved free services to a pay model, the price has remained very low. I expect that here as well.

The OBI100 itself was $38. So, for $38 I get a phone line with voicemail and free domestic calls for this year and probably the foreseeable future with no monthly charge!

It does seem too good to be true, doesn’t it?

9 thoughts on “My Mainly Free Phone Line”

  1. THANKS! This is good info — I’m going to check into it — it does sound too good to be true. Comcast is a bad word in this household — getting too pricey. Kinda like MaBell in the early 1970s.

  2. I’ve had Google Voice for over a year now. You can pick a number when you sign up for it. But my wife doesn’t like it mostly because when we call out we get a call back on our landline phone. But if the OBI100 eliminates that, then life’s great. Thank you for the tip!

  3. I use a Magic Jack as a business line. Buy it for $40 and it includes 1 year of unlimited nationwide calling, then it’s $20 per year. It includes voicemail, which you can have sent to an email address. Keep it plugged in to a computer to keep it active, and you can use 911. You can also take it with you on vacation, and use it instead of a cell to make “local” calls. The call quality is ok, sometimes I hear slight ticking or a slight echo. I used Google Voice for a short time. Mike B, you should be able to change what number it rings back to. And if you are using a smartphone, there is a function that lets you choose which number shows up when you call out. We were able to make the Google Voice number show as the outgoing number on a Android, and we could choose which number to use each time we made an outgoing call. You can also tell your phone to ignore Google Voice calls when you want to.

  4. Geoff

    Does this device act as the home phone, meaning if someone calls the Goggle voice number will it ring on the phone connected to the OBI100 or do you still need a number that goggle voice will forward to.

    Thanks for any light you can shed on this.

  5. I’m 14 months in and nearly $400 saved with Obi.
    Our goals were “a number that we can put on forms that isn’t our cellphones”
    and “cheap calls to the UK” competitive with our calling cards.

    We looked at Skype, Ooma, Vonage etc – but all are subscription models for something that just isn’t worth $10/month or more.

    It’s been infinitely helpful – transcribed email voicemail goes to both my wife and my accounts. It’s saved our bacon when our bank account was locked while in Paris. The bank called our Obi – we got voicemail over email. Similarly we used the Obitalk app on wifi to call our bank back for free.

    And GoogleVoice’s call “marketer/spam” filter was superb – no campaign calls during election season.

    Looking forward to another year of no subscriptions and another $450 of savings

  6. Got the Obi202 for my google voice account. I thought i was going to use the WiFi adapter for the 202. ended up not needing it. I Added Anveo 911 service for $5 a year. I forward my office phone to google voice and now I can answer work calls from my home, my cell, wherever. It took me a little bit of effort to get the voice QOS where I wanted it by prioritizing devices on my network. But all said & done the Obi is an awesome device and completes Google Voice.

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